December 2018

David Relph, from Herne Bay, jailed for sexually abusing young girls

A sexual predator who abused two young girls has been jailed for nine years – but could have got life behind bars if new sentencing powers were available to the judge.

David Relph was convicted by a jury at Canterbury Crown Court of 14 offences involving his victims in the 1990s.

The 64-year-old, of Blenheim Close, Herne Bay, was sentenced yesterday by Judge Simon James, who said his offences would attract a maximum term of life imprisonment if carried out today.

But because the crimes happened when the most severe punishment was a jail-term of up to 10 years, Judge James said he was restricted in his powers.

After reading an impact statement from one of the victims, he told Relph: “This has affected them long into adulthood. They have been forced to wrestle with this experience throughout their lives.”

He added that Relph had shown no sense of remorse or insight and his continual denials caused concern.

Prosecutor Peter Forbes told the jury how the victims revealed they were sexually abused after visiting Relph’s house.

One of the women contacted the NSPCC three years ago to report how she had been attacked and forced to watch pornography.

In 2016, the second victim went to Canterbury police station and reported that she too was a victim of the pervert.

Relph, who denied all the charges, claimed the women were lying but the jury convicted him unanimously on four charges and by majority on the other 10.

When he was convicted, the judge asked police officers and the court’s security staff to escort jury members to their vehicles following claims of intimidation.

Relph will have to serve a year on licence after being released from prison.